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Build a Backyard Retreat: 18 Scrimps & Splurges

Posted: June 09, 2020
Build a Backyard Retreat: 18 Scrimps & Splurges

For ye who seek to build a backyard retreat who have already scrimped and saved, here are some ideas to help you splurge on your endeavor. Hot tubs, hammocks, detached office pods, and huge cauldrons o' fire.

And for those still in scrimping mode, paired with every splurge is a more economical option that will still help convert your backyard into a retreat worthy of escaping to all summer long. Hell, why not hunker down and just ride out the rest of 2020? Scrimps range from trash can grills to flyin' saucer hammocks, and solar powered patio umbrellas to fryin' saucer outdoor cookers.

There are 18 scrimps and splurges in all, and all ready to help you build the ultimate backyard retreat.

Splurge: Tubmarine Wood-Fired Hot Tub

Tubmarine Wood-Fired Hot Tub

Brit Chris Galley conceived the Tubmarine as a wood-fired, eco-friendly outdoor soaker in 2013. Seven years later, he and his team have produced a hot tub that heats up in under 2 hours with no electricity, and minimal maintenance required. Tubmarines combine 304 or 316 corrosion-resistant stainless steel with kebony timber that needs no additional wood treatment, and is guaranteed for 30 years.

Tubmarines use Kirami wood-fired water heaters from Finland, made of AlMg3 marine aluminum. The hot tubs are all fabricated in the UK, and all materials used in their build are fully recyclable.

$20,000 ➠ Tubmarine

Scrimp: SaluSpa Miami 4-Person Inflatable Hot Tub

Scrimp: SaluSpa Miami 4-Person Inflatable Hot Tub

I think it's time for a hot tub. To soak away my sorrows and boredom. And maybe deliver a little muscle therapy to that bit of my back I tweaked trying to grab my razor off the sink without stepping out of the shower.

The SaluSpa Miami is an indoor / outdoor inflatable spa you can set up, break down, and move about, they say, in minutes. No tools required. It fits 4 adults, provided no one minds getting extra cozy and interlocking toes.

The hot tub gets its heat and jet power from a submarine-esque side tank, and you'll choose exactly how hot and bubbly you get inside using a digital control panel on the top of the tank. Max Miami temperature is 104 degrees F.

$625 ➠ Amazon

Splurge: The Hammock Throne

Splurge: The Hammock Throne
Splurge: The Hammock Throne

Yellow Leaf Hammocks is an established brand of handwoven hanging sacks o' relaxation. For the Hammock Throne, they've created a 46" diameter steel and curved hardwood base with a 360-degree swivel as a mount for their hammocks. The beauty of the Throne is that you can set it up indoors or out, no trees or posts required, and use only a small footprint of space. Empty it looks like a chair, and you can either sit upright and use it as one, or kick back and extend the hammock out to 7+' for a full lie-down.

$1,499 & Up ➠ Yellow Leaf Hammocks

Scrimp: Outdoor Rocking Hammock Lounger

Scrimp: Outdoor Rocking Hammock Lounger

I like that this outdoor hammock lounger's design suggests I probably won't flip sideways or spill out onto my belly trying to get in and out of it. But I do have some concerns about ending up ass over teakettle. The rocker's got a big, long forward-back motion. Looks like you're even supposed to tip it forward to get in and out. Wonder what happens when you fall into a pool snooze and start dreaming about a nest of snakes dumping onto your head and it goes the other way.

Suitable for the garden, beach, pool deck, or park, the hammock lounger has a simple construction consisting of a tubular, powder-coated steel stand covered in weather-resistant textilene fabric. A pillow attaches at the top end for head and neck comfort, but that brick of a thing does not look conducive to head and neck comfort to me.

$79.99 to $89.99 ➠ Amazon

Splurge: Noori Modular Grill, Stove, Pizza Oven & Fire Pit

Splurge: Noori Modular Grill, Stove, Pizza Oven & Fire Pit
Splurge: Noori Modular Grill, Stove, Pizza Oven & Fire Pit

According to Noori, "Noori allows a wide range of features through its modularity." According to me, Noori allows a wide range of eating all my favorite food groups. Ribs and burgers! Fat pots of chili! Wood-fired pizza! And on the rare occasions I'm not hungry and in need of a grill, rocket stove, or pizza oven, Noori's lid, grates, and upper chamber pop off to turn the versatile cooker into an outdoor fire pit.

Which I could use to roast some wieners and s'mores when my hunger hits again.

$1,500 ➠ Noori

Scrimp: The Original Po' Man Charcoal Grill

Scrimp: The Original Po' Man Charcoal Grill
Scrimp: The Original Po' Man Charcoal Grill

"It looks like a trash can and tastes better than an Egg, so it will be the conversation piece of your next BBQ." So say the creators of the Po' Man, a grill that sets up with a set down on the ground, operates on plain charcoal and rubbing alcohol, and cooks up tasty plates of beef, pork, poultry, and fish in large - very large - quantities.

I guess the saying rings true again: one man's trash is another man's treasure.

$150 ➠ Amazon

Splurge: Arteflame 40" Wood & Charcoal Grill & Fire Pit

Splurge: Arteflame 40" Wood & Charcoal Grill & Fire Pit
Splurge: Arteflame 40" Wood & Charcoal Grill & Fire Pit

Arteflame's 40" Grill goes from a BBQ with visiting family tonight to a bonfire with the lady you didn't want to torture with meeting them when they all leave tomorrow. A slick, contemporary design for your patio or back yard, the combo grill and fire pit burns both wood and charcoal from within a US Corten steel spun bowl, which you can use with or without the included 1/2" carbon steel cooktop.

$1,795 ➠ Amazon

Scrimp: Fryin' Saucer Portable Propane Deep Fryer

Scrimp: Fryin' Saucer Portable Propane Deep Fryer
Scrimp: Fryin' Saucer Portable Propane Deep Fryer

Compact and portable, the Fryin' Saucer and could prove be kingdom come for anyone whose first true love in the food preparation world is that which is battered, dunked, and sizzled crisp.

The folding Fryin' Saucer weighs just 18 pounds and assembles in 2 minutes or less for heating and oil-ambushing anything from french fries in the backyard to fishes down by the river. A 1 lb propane cylinder will provide enough fuel for up to 3 hours of frying, and the economical 1-gallon capacity oil basket will feed 8 to 10 bellies in as little as 30 minutes.

$139.90 ➠ Amazon

Splurge: Archipod Backyard Office Dome

Archipod Backyard Office Dome

The Archipod: It's not bigger on the inside, but it should be plenty big enough to get your creative and productive juices flowing as a backyard work dome. Plus, it looks pretty damn cool. If you're craving your own sphere of space cordoned off from co-workers and your gaggle of kids, or just want to own the biggest and best lawn ornament in the neighborhood, the Archipod is a freestanding, custom built, fully loaded garden office that will help you get your focus on from home. Top that, life-size Bigfoot statue!

$24,000 & Up ➠ Archipod

Scrimp: Allwood Escape 113-Square-Foot Cabin Kit

Scrimp: Allwood Escape 113-Square-Foot Cabin Kit
Scrimp: Allwood Escape 113-Square-Foot Cabin Kit

An Allwood Escape Cabin Kit may be no more than a glorified playhouse to some, but given that I haven't found a place to put (or the money to buy) my Honomobo Container Home yet...it's time to glorify me a playhouse, baby!

And really, an Allwood Escape Cabin isn't a bad option for a DIY weekend getaway or backyard small house (or backyard dog house, depending on what you did to piss her off that night.)

$5,350 ➠ Amazon

Splurge: Robomow Robotic Lawn Mower

Splurge: Robomow Robotic Lawn Mower
Splurge: Robomow Robotic Lawn Mower

Robomow. Just another example of robots taking human jobs. Husbands and sons of the world, I hear your protests. I feel your outrage. I...wait. Actually, I don't hear or feel anything from the husbands and sons of the world but a sigh of relief that they don't have to get off the lounger or turn off the Atari Flashback to mow the lawn anymore.

$2,199 ➠ Amazon

Scrimp: Artificial Grass Interlocking Mats

Scrimp: Artificial Grass Interlocking Mats
Scrimp: Artificial Grass Interlocking Mats

If it looks like grass and grows like...uh...feels like...uh, well. These interlocking mats pretty much stop at looking like grass, but if your concrete jungle needs a lawn like mine does, they're realistic enough, plus one of the easier options you've got when it comes to adding some summertime flooring to your balcony, deck, patio, or that little square of space in front of your apartment's only set of windows.

$62.99 for a 6-Pack ➠ Amazon

Splurge: Outdoor Patio Arch Swing

Splurge: Outdoor Patio Arch Swing

Boy does this look like the chocolate malted bacon sundae of patio furniture. If I had one, I'd throw a sheet of mosquito netting over the top and spend my entire summer rocking in the breeze.

The swing has a sturdy wood base covered in a canvas hammock as big as a double bed. Its arched overhead structure also has a canvas canopy to shield you from the sun and the leering eyes of the cougar neighbor lady who keeps offering to give you tango lessons and telling me to ask her what kind of tango she means.

$1,245 ➠ Amazon

Scrimp: Flying Saucer Hanging Hammock Chair

Scrimp: Flying Saucer Hanging Hammock Chair
Scrimp: Flying Saucer Hanging Hammock Chair

The Flying Saucer Hanging Hammock Chair's official name is Flower House FHFSSVR Flying Saucer Hanging Hammock Chair with Bird & Bug Net. FHFSSVR? Gesundheit. Or should I say, Covfefe.

I stumbled across the FHFSSVR (Fun Hammock: Flying Saucer-Shaped, Very Round?) when I was researching cures for the winter blues. It only made me bluer, and more covetous of summer days. But then I circled back to the hammock (and not just because it's Flying Saucer-Shaped, Very Round) thinking maybe I could make myself feel better during my cold, cooped-up winter months by buying a crapton of new stuff I can use in the summer.

So meet my new backyard tree swing!

$403.29 ➠ Amazon

Splurge: Cowboy Cauldron BBQ & Fire Pits

Splurge: Cowboy Cauldron BBQ & Fire Pits
Splurge: Cowboy Cauldron BBQ & Fire Pits

A Cowboy Cauldron brings together folks from all walks of life. Wranglers can cook out with witches. Dudes from the ranch can grill with dads from McMansions. Fantasy fans can warm their hands across the fire pit from hipsters. Cowboy Cauldrons know no boundaries. Even better, the Salt Lake City-based company says no matter who you are, "a Cauldron will literally change your life. In fact, it will almost surely change the lives of grandchildren and great-grandchildren who aren't even born yet."

Whoa. Now that's a sell as hard as the solid, seamless, high-tensile plate steel Cowboy Cauldrons are made from.

$899 to $2,999 ➠ Cowboy Cauldron Co.

Scrimp: Rootless Portable Steel Mesh Fire Pit

Scrimp: Rootless Portable Steel Mesh Fire Pit
Scrimp: Rootless Portable Steel Mesh Fire Pit

The Rootless Portable Outdoor Fire Pit weighs just 2.25 pounds and collapses down to 25.6" x 2.5" x 2.5". You can choose either a Large or Medium netting, sized at 22" or 16.5" square respectively. Both stand 12.6" tall when assembled.

Rootless netting is made of anti-heating, environmentally-friendly stainless steel fabric, woven to limit ash and debris from slipping through it. The pouch should be able to hold enough wood for any level of greatness you're looking to achieve with your fire.

$36.99 to $49.99 ➠ Amazon

Splurge: Cumulus Solar-Powered Patio Umbrella

Splurge: Cumulus Solar-Powered Patio Umbrella

Clouds. First they appeared in the sky, where their reign is still very strong. Then they showed up as an abstruse term for virtual storage / intangible nothingness. More recently we've seen Richard Clarkson's indoor Cloud, a decorative light with storm effects. And now, now the climatological phenomenon has moved into the world of patio furniture. Check out Cumulus, Netherlands-based Studio Toer's self-inflating parasol that puffs open into a cloud of shade when hit by the sun.

Cumulus self-inflates to a fully open umbrella in about 20 seconds when its top side solar panels sense the rays of the sun. It has a diameter of just of 6-1/2'. While the parasol is not fitted with a metal core, Studio Toer says its aerodynamic shape when inflated keeps it aloft and stable during windy weather, and a nylon surface makes it durable, lightweight, and strong.

$630 & Up ➠ Studio Toer

Scrimp: Solar Powered LED Lighted Patio Umbrella

Scrimp: Solar Powered LED Lighted Patio Umbrella

Shade and charging when the sun's out, the illumination of 8 LED tubes and a center pendant light when it's not. This 9' patio umbrella has a solar powered battery that sucks up the sun's rays throughout the day, and then feeds the LEDs on its underside to keep your outdoor dinners and night caps going after dark.

The patio umbrella's stem and ribs are made of iron coated in an anti-oxidation spray. The canopy is a waterproof and UV-resistant 180/gsm polyester fabric, available at printing in khaki, brown, burgundy, and green. The umbrella has a crank for raising and lowering, plus a hand-swivel design for tilting. The solar-powered battery pack is also removable for electric charging.

$119.99 ➠ Amazon
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